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"Generally, the human race avoids doing anything radical until forced into it."
- Frederik Pohl

Soft Weapon  
  A device that changes its shape to alter its function.  

Found in a stasis box, the device is a mystery.

"...the notches in the handle may control intensity. The guide is now set on 'nil.'"

Chuft-Captain moved the guide one notch down. A moment later he had to resist the panicky urge to throw the thing as far as possible. The mirror-faced sphere was twisting and turning like something alive, changing shape like a drug nightmare. It changed and flowed and became ... a long slender cylinder with a red knob at the end and a toggle near the handle. The handle had not changed at all.

From The Soft Weapon, by Larry Niven.
Published by Not known in 1967
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